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Ultrasonography

Samantha Gibbs
H. Demars
Physics 1010 section 013
3/1/2015

Since 1895 X-Ray technology has been used to find tumors, examine broken bones, find
what the sex of a baby is and much more. The X-Ray was discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen in

Samantha Gibbs
H. Demars
Physics 1010
3/1/2015

December of 1895. The first X-Ray Wilhelm ever took was of his wifes hand, in the picture
you can see a ring on her finger and all the bones in her hand. Though the X-Ray has been
helpful in helping diagnose and treat different ailments, it does have some down sides due to its
involvement in radiation. Anyone who has an X-Ray done is exposed to radiation which can
cause deterioration of an individuals health over a period of time. A similar and virtually
harmless version of X-Ray technology is the Ultrasonography.
Ultrasonography or ultrasound is the use of sound waves to create images. The concept
of ultrasonography was first discovered by Lazzaro Spallanzani in 1794. He used bats to find in
his experiments by either blind folding them or covering their mouths. Spallanzani found that
the bats that were blind folded were able to avoid running into objects, while the bats that had
their mouths covered were not able to avoid the same objects while flying. These findings
showed that bats used sound waves to create a so called image for them to avoid objects while
hunting at night. Though this was the start of the discovery of the concept ultrasound the actual
term ultrasonography was not coined till later. Bats are not the only animals that use these
sounds that cannot be heard to navigate and avoid obstacles. Dolphins also use sound waves to
find other dolphins or to hunt fish nearby. They can sense when the sound waves they create
bounce off another object, this is called echolocation. Pierre Curie invented the transducer

Samantha Gibbs
H. Demars
Physics 1010
3/1/2015

which was brought on by the discovery of the piezoelectric effect. An ultrasound is dependent
on the use of the transducer, it is said to be the backbone of the ultrasound.
In physics ultrasound means any sound that humans cannot hear. Ultrasounds can be
used to diagnose problems in the heart, kidney, liver and abdomen. An ultrasound can even be
used to treat illnesses in certain cases. When an ultrasound is done on an individual it uses
sound waves, with a frequency usually between 2 and 18 MHz, to create an image within the
individuals body. The sound waves penetrate things like skin, blood and other tissue and
bounces off of more dense objects, such as a heart valve or gallstone. This image can show
anything from the tendons in the heart, a growing baby in the uterus, or even blood vessels.
When the frequency is higher the image is clearer but they do not penetrate as deeply because
they are easily absorbed into the skin and tissue they penetrate. Lower frequencies have a lower
quality image but can penetrate deeper because they are not so easily absorbed into skin and
tissue.
The difference between a diagnostic ultrasound and therapeutic ultrasound is that
diagnostic uses sound waves to create an image while therapeutic uses high frequencies to create
coagulation of tissue, this is most commonly used in the treatment of benign tumors. The use of
ultrasonography in place of X-Ray technology is thought to be much safer. This is because the
exposure to radiation caused by an X-Ray is completely eliminated when and ultrasound is used.

Samantha Gibbs
H. Demars
Physics 1010
3/1/2015

There are many different medical ultrasound techniques. There is anesthesiology which
helps guide to avoid nerves while injecting anesthetic solutions. Echocardiography involves the
heart and is used to help diagnose heart problems. Using this technology, modern devices can
produce 3 dimensional images of the heart and cardiovascular system. Ultrasounds are used in
emergencies to help determine the severity of a wound or internal trauma. Obstetric
ultrasonography has like is the use of ultrasound to monitor the growth and wellbeing of
embryos before birth.
Ultrasonography is not only used in medical practices. In 1915 Paul Langevin invented
underwater sonar, which used sound waves to detect nearby ships and submarines. This helped
to protect many ships during World War 1. Sergei Sokolov introduced the concept of using
ultrasonic technology to detect flaws in metal in 1928. A metal flaw detector was invented
after this concept was introduced, it helped detect flaws in metal warships and equipment.
Ultrasound equipment compact enough for one individual to carry onto the battlefield has even
been invented in the last decade. Ultrasonography has evidently improved our society in many
different aspects and the future is bright for this type of technology.

Bibliography
http://www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/health_effects.html

Samantha Gibbs
H. Demars
Physics 1010
3/1/2015

Early History of X-Rays by Alexi Assmus Beam Line, Summer 1995 issue
A Brief History of Ultrasound by Dr. Alice Man and Dr. Manoj K. Karmakarhttp://www.usgraweb.hk/en/Pdf%20Slide%20Show/History%20of%20Ultrasound.pdf
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245491.php
Ultrasound History by Beth W. Orenstein Radiology Today Vol. 9 No. 24 pg. 28, 2008
Diagnostic Ultrasound: Past, Present, and Future by K. Kirk Shung - Journal of Medical and
Biological Engineering, pg. 371-374 Received 16 Nov 2010; Accepted 25 Jan 2011